Although public workers in North Carolina and Virginia have the right to form and join a union and can negotiate with their employer for fair wages and benefits—as well as fair working conditions—it is illegal for employers and their employees to sign a legally-enforceable collective bargaining agreement.
North Carolina General Statute § 95-98 prohibits state and local governments from entering into collective bargaining agreements with their employers. Virginia Code 40.1-57.2 outlaws collective bargaining in Virginia. North Carolina and Virginia are the only two states in the country to have such laws on the books.
NCGS § 95-98 was signed into law in 1959 by an all-white legislature during the time of Jim Crow segregation and major human rights violations in the United States. The NAACP has deemed NCGS § 95-98 to be North Carolina’s last Jim Crow law.